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EPA Targets Michigan Jobs
By JGillman, Section News
A few years back, I wrote a little piece about the dying upper peninsula of Michigan. "God's country" as some might rightfully call it, is home to some good folk. Many who have braved generations of unreliable electric service in some parts, that even now are at least a decade away from high speed internet and consistent telephone service, both cellular and land line.
And even that isn't a guarantee they will ever see it.
In fact civilization is moving along rapidly enough that the populations of the UP are being drawn out except in the most concentrated population centers. And in THOSE places, federal grants for housing, and assistance measures are being increased. It draws those living in the rural outlying zones in to the town centers. For some of the poor folk who face increasing government punishment for modifying land to suit their needs, additional fuel costs, and the pledge of subsidized urban housing it makes sense to take a path of least resistance.
Then add to this a increase in the cost of electricity that is as guaranteed as craftsman tools, and the landscape becomes fundamentally different.
The cost of electricity BTW because of such measures that would bankrupt those who would build coal fired plants, which was the promise of then Senator Obama, speaking to an interviewer on clean energy options. THAT promise is now being kept, as the out of control EPA brings the hammer down on Upper Michigan's coal based energy producers.
"Looming environmental rules may lead We Energies to shut down the only major power plant serving Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the next five or six years."
It seems that other than the few minor hydroelectric producers spread throughout parts of the UP, the Marquette Presque Isle coal burning facility is it. This employer of hundreds, and provider of a major portion of operating revenues for the local governments, apparently cannot meet standards now being implemented by the EPA. The standards are arguably job breakers, and the point according to the EPA is to limit greenhouse gases and mercury emissions, the negative effect of the former still hotly contested, and the latter insignificant.
Actually, as the best intentions of regulators often reveal, is that the implementation of such projects result in counter-intuitive results. The local health might actually be adversely affected by the closure of such a facility. A loss of a jobs provider such as the Presque Isle plant in Marquette would put a strain on the social services for the region. It would mean the loss of insurance for the former employees. Further, stress associated with job loss has been documented to literally shorten life span:
Healthy workers are 83 percent more likely to report health problems if they join the ranks of the unemployed, according to a study by Dr. Kate Strully, an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Albany. ... Some of the major reasons that job loss is "getting under the skin and causing disease," Strully said, are the loss of a main income source and employer-sponsored health insurance -- and earnings reductions that can last 15 to 20 years even if the worker is hired again.
I have yet to see the effect of mercury documented as something that affects health and mortality in such a manner. Particularly in the (as mentioned already) insignificant levels produced.
And there are more job losses to be had, along with more of the same effect that we have had to endure with 8 years of a 'green' governor looking to mitigate our daily dose of mercury and CO2. It was Governor Granholm who put the brakes on the plant in Rogers City citing health reasons among others.
It came at a cost of hundreds of high paying jobs immediately, and more that are too often forgotten when calculating such things; like manufacturing jobs.
What most manufacturers understand, is that higher utility costs are a factor that can take away from other expenses such as workforce. If price cannot be proportionately adjusted for increases in production expense, the usual target must be the worker. The parts and pieces that are a part of any produced wealth typically have fixed costs, thus additional expense through balance takes away from the employee slice of the pie.
And manufacturing is what Michigan has always been about.
No Utopian vision of cool cities and green 'great societies' where we are all fed like pigs with a trough, can undermine the fact that Michigan's secret to success has always been its ability to craft, create, or build, and its secret to recovery will be the same. A higher cost to manufacturers translates directly into either higher cost of goods, a few less people on the line, or even more devastating a loss of a company altogether. According to a September SMU study, energy could be particularly hurtful to Upper Michigan's core industry, paper.
"For each manufacturing job lost, many other dependent jobs will also exit the economy. One in eight private sector jobs rely upon our manufacturing base. For energy intensive manufacturing industries, the relationship is even higher. For example, models show each job lost in iron and steel, 12.3 jobs are lost elsewhere, pulp and paper, 9.7 jobs and refining, 36.3 jobs"
A higher cost of energy in the Midwest, means higher costs to mine ore, produce steel, means losses of jobs there, and results in double whammy to the upper peninsula paper producers.
Oh, and costs WILL be higher. Even directly to the consumers in the UP by the actions of this administration's EPA, the cost of electricity will likely increase by 4 cents per KWH. A shutdown of this particular plant in Marquette will require the building of a transmission system from Wausau, WI at a cost of a Billion bananas.
Typically, those costs are passed along to buyers of electricity, ya know?
When considering the cause and effect of such overreaching regulatory efforts on Michigan's working class, one might consider such factors to be important. If overall health concerns are truly paramount, then the cause and effect might matter to a discerning leader. If economic health concern is a part of the equation then any leader who feigns ignorance of such effect is derelict in his or her service representing us.
And therein lies the problem.
With regard to the EPA, it has no power but for the willingness of the congress to give carte blanche to this insidious job killer and a checkbook with which to operate. The bastard child of a progressive corruptocrat in the first degree, the EPA still requires funding and authorization by congress to exist. Another Michigander also recognizes this and addresses the unaccountability by regulators with a letter to Congressman Thadeus McCotter's office man recently. His letter suggests a return to the responsibility Congress alone has in such matters:
What he said.
It couldn't be any more clear.
Punitive, unaccountable, and faceless bureaucracy is the end of our country's ability to operate. The EPA is at the top of that executive heap with its disregard for our way of life, and the ways in which we create wealth in this country. A disregard fully exacerbated by the ignorance of same in the current administration. Ignorance all too often demonstrated by for-our-own-good administrators in Washington. The very possibility that there can be Richard Nixons, Jimmy Carters, and Barack Obamas occasionally prestidigitating to our nation's top office should demand the end to these autonomous agencies of enmity.
Demand an end to the EPA's stranglehold on our economy, on Michigan's economy.
Tell congress to do its job!
Because as the engine of democracy this state is, and has been, it cannot afford any additional losses in the ability to produce and provide for its citizens or for the country as a whole.
EPA Targets Michigan Jobs | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
EPA Targets Michigan Jobs | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
Menu+ create account
+ Editorial Policy
+ I wrote a little piece
+ would bankrupt those who would build coal fired plants, which was the promise
+ EPA brings the hammer down on Upper Michigan's coal based energy producers.
+ been documented to literally shorten life span:
+ September SMU study,
+ this particular plant in Marquette
+ Also by JGillman